Market Lavington Museum

The photographer’s shop


There was a photographer’s shop in Market Lavington for about 100 years. Originally Alf Burgess and then his sons had premises almost next to the co-op. When Peter and Bessie Francis set up their business it was on Church Street and it is those premises we look at today.

Bessie Francis stands outside the photography shop on Church Street in this 1960s view

Bessie Francis stands outside the photography shop on Church Street in this 1960s view

Here we see the premises some 50 years ago. Bessie stands at the door of quite substantial premises which, apart from the shop contained a portrait studio and the darkroom with all its equipment. Peter and Bessie were, of course, photographers as well as shop keepers. They lived over the premises.

The door between the two windows looks absurdly small which may remind us that people are much taller on average, now, than they were even 100 years ago.

The impression from this photo is of a vibrant and thriving business.

By the time the Francis duo retired and sold the business, the writing was probably on the wall for a shop of this kind in a village and not surprisingly the shop closed down leaving the premises as more of a private house. And so this is the 21st century view of the premises.

Bessie Francis stands outside the photography shop on Church Street - 1960s

The same premises in the 21st century

In truth, it still looks much the same and the windows certainly indicate its former shop status. In some ways the buildings either side which we can see have changed more.

These days, of course we are all happy mass snappers with a multi-purpose phone/camera/music player. We do not need experts to help us process our pictures or a regular supply of photographic film. Oddly, in these days of truly mass photography, shops selling equipment for this near universal hobby have all but vanished. If we want equipment we probably research on the internet to find what we want, or maybe make use of a hypermarket or superstore.

Times, inevitably, change.